Google Street View gives woman a special gift — an image of her late mother

stanford research google street view cars predict zip code stats maps

A former Florida woman hoping to glimpse a little piece of her past got more than she bargained for when she took to Google Street View to take a peek at her old residence. Denise Underhill, who now resides in the U.K. in Tamworth, Staffordshire, had an overwhelming desire to call her mother, which unfortunately was not possible given that her mother passed away in 2015. But thanks to modern technology and infrequently updated Street View imagery, when Underhill decided to do the next best thing — take a look at her mother’s old home using the mapping service — she saw not just her mother’s house, but her mother as well.

“As I went about my housework, I somehow instantaneously had the impulse to call my mother, but realized that it was completely out of the question,” she told the Tamworth Herald. “I decided to Google Earth my mother’s home to see how it looked, considering … she had passed away in 2015 and the property had been sold.”

The home was relatively easy to find, given that a tall silver birch tree serves as something of a landmark. And when she zoomed in, Underhill was shocked to find an image of her mother watering plants in their old garden.

“I got the biggest surprise ever! I just couldn’t believe it,” she told the Herald. “At the foot of the driveway was my mother. She was watering the garden, just as she always did. I was absolutely astounded – it made my day. You never know what photos are being taken but they really do last a lifetime.”

google street view mother capture

Underhill added, “I think someone wanted me to see this.”

Much of Google Street View’s imagery is regularly updated on a yearly basis, thanks to camera-equipped Google cars roaming urban and rural streets alike, which means that it is not necessarily common for someone like Underhill to have seen a dated but precious photo. Today, hundreds of thousands of contributors help keep Google Street View as current as possible, and the company is always expanding its reach with hopes of offering users glimpses at other parts of the world.

Editors' Recommendations